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Pacquiao vs. Khan moved to May 19

Amir Khan Manny Pacquiao

By Chris Williams: Manny Pacquiao will be fighting Amir Khan on May 19 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rather than the original date of April 23. Michael Koncz, the adviser for the 38-year-old Pacquiao, says the decision behind moving the date from April 23 to May 19 was so that there would be more time to promote the fight properly.

With an extra month to market the Pacquiao-Khan fight, it gives Top Rank more time to promote it properly. The fight will be on a Friday rather than a Saturday in the U.S, which is when pay-per-view fights are normally shown. It’ll be on May 20th for the UAE.

Koncz is looking at staging the fight in either Dubai or Abu Dhabi. Koncz met with Pacquiao’s promoter Bob Arum on Tuesday, and they’re both on the same page in wanting the fight.

Arum was originally working on matching Pacquiao against Australian Jeff Horn for April 23 in Brisbane, Australia. Koncz and Pacquiao had second thoughts about making that fight after Pacquiao created a poll on his Twitter site, asking the boxing fans to pick his next opponent from a 4-fighter list. Amir Khan got the most votes with 44,815 fans picking him, while Horn came in dead last. Kell Brook was second in the voting and Terence Crawford no.3. What was interesting about the voting is that 86% of the votes for Khan came from the U.S boxing fans. Koncz sees that as significant, because it was assumed that Khan would receive most of his votes from his British fans in the UK. But with him getting most of his votes from the U.S, it suggests that the fans in that country want to see him as Pacquiao’s next opponent. What this means for Pacquiao is it could help increase his PPV buys in selecting Khan rather than the little known Jeff Horn or Crawford, who isn’t a pay-per-view fighter.

“When I saw Amir ran away with it, I figured most of the votes from England and a lot of them came from the [UAE], but they told me that 86 percent of them were from the U.S.,” Koncz said to Yahoo Sports “That meant a lot. Obviously, Amir’s a big name in the U.S., too, as well as in England [where he lives] and people saw it for what it is: A toss-up fight against two fast-handed guys.”

Khan’s last fight against Saul Canelo Alvarez brought in 600,000 buys on HBO PPV last May in the U.S. Those are good numbers. Pacquiao’s last two fights against Jessie Vargas and Tim Bradley brought in 300,000 PPV buys. It’s too bad Pacquiao didn’t create a poll asking fans if it was a wise move for him to fight those guys, because he would have been better off if he’d selected fighters the boxing fans were more interested in seeing. Tim Bradley had his time in the past in facing Pacquiao but by 2016, it was no longer an interesting opponent for the Filipino fighter.

It’s unclear why Arum didn’t realize that ahead of time and selected someone like Khan for Pacquiao to fight. Perhaps Arum needs to create polls for himself so that he picks only the best opponents for his fighters rather than selecting guys that the boxing public has very little in seeing. Arum should match Bradley and Vargas against each other again rather than wasting Pacquiao’s last remaining fights putting them in with him.

“We just want to do the best and the biggest fight we can, and this makes a lot of sense for so many reasons,” Koncz said about the Pacquiao-Khan fight. “We’ll be able to properly promote it.”
Khan is a good choice for Pacquiao to fight right now, because it matches two very fast fighters against each other. Khan brings a lot of drama with him into each of his fights, because you never know if he’s going to get knocked out. When Khan wins, he looks great. When loses, it’s usually because of his chin letting him down. Even then, Khan makes it exciting until he’s stopped. Pacquiao will have a good chance of getting his first knockout since 2009.

When Pacquiao was knocking everyone out, his popularity was soaring in the U.S. His long dry spell where he failed to knockout anyone saw him reaching a plateau in gaining new boxing fans. Perhaps if Pacquiao can knockout Khan, it could help increase interest in his fights.
You can argue that Pacquiao needs to be more involved in the selection process of his fights from here on out.

It would be a pity if Pacquiao finds himself fighting Jeff Horn in his next fight, and then Crawford and Vasyl Lomachenko. If those are the fighters the boxing world wants Pacquiao to fight, then so be it. But if the fans prefer to see Pacquiao fight guys like Adrien Broner, Danny Garcia, Keith Thurman, Kell Brook and Errol Spence, then he should be looking to face them. I think the match-making that Arum has done for Pacquiao in the last four years hasn’t helped his popularity in the boxing world. Matching Pacquiao against these fighters probably wasn’t a good idea: Brandon Rios, Chris Algieri, Jessie Vargas, Tim Bradley [for third fight] and Joshua Clottey. Pacquiao needs to be fighting only guys that the boxing public cares about. Fighting Horn or some other obscure fighter that the public isn’t familiar with probably isn’t a good move for Pacquiao to shape his legacy.

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